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Gothenburg EU Summit: Resist The Bosses' Europe!
US PRESIDENT George W Bush's arrival in Sweden's second city, Gothenburg, on 14 June will trigger three days of demonstrations against imperialism and the European Union (EU), which holds its summit on 15-16 June.
Laurence Coates, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (RS), CWI, Sweden
Demonstrators are expected from all over Scandinavia, with contingents from other European countries too. Danish and Norwegian transport workers are among those sending big contingents to 'GBG 2001'.
This is the latest in a chain of international protests against capitalist institutions like the EU, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, which took on a whole new significance with the Seattle demonstrations of November 1999.
The EU is a capitalist bloc formed by multinationals in Europe and politicians representing the interests of the rich. Their agenda is cuts, 'job flexibility', deregulation and privatisation.
The CWI (Committee for a Workers' International) is fighting for another Europe, a workers' Europe - a democratic socialist Europe.
THE CWI'S Swedish section, RŠttvisepartiet Socialisterna (RS), is among 50 parties and organsiations mobilising for Gothenburg from around Scandinavia. CWI sections in Germany, the Czech Republic, Holland, Belgium and Britain are also sending people.
Elin Gauffin, Vice-chair of RS, explains: "There are a million reasons to protest in Gothenburg. Bush tore up the Kyoto protocol which in itself was a half-hearted proposal to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that are destroying the planet. He's in the pockets of the big oil and car companies."
After meeting Bush for talks, the EU heads of government, including right-wing billionaire Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's new prime minister, will discuss proposals for a European army or Rapid Reaction Force to take effect in 2003, and plans to sign up as many as 13 new EU members mostly in Eastern Europe.
"The capitalist governments of Europe use EU enlargement as an additional argument for their new army. Socialists are completely against enlargement which is just a recolonisation of Eastern Europe - where everything is up for sale," says Elin Gauffin
The CWI contingent in Gothenburg will carry placards demanding: "Jobs not bombs - No to the EU's army" to get across the message that a new arms race is about to kick-off, with Bush's plans for a new missile shield and the militarisation of the EU.
This will demand huge sums of money which could be spent on schools, hospitals and decent housing.
ANOTHER ISSUE which the CWI contigent will feature is opposition to the Schengen agreement which Sweden and Norway joined this year - raising a new wall against refugees. Although outside Schengen, the New Labour British government has introduced some of the most draconian anti-asylum laws in Europe.
The right of asylum is under serious attack. Already one million immigrants in Schengen's database are refused entry into EU. "We stand for the right of asylum which is fast disappearing in Europe," says Okoth Osewe, a member of RS.
The bosses and the establishment parties have not hesitated in playing the 'race' or 'asylum card' to divert attention from the capitalist roots of society's problems and divide the working class.
The rise of Haider in Austria and the coming to power of Berlusconi and Bossi for a second time in Italy should act as a dire warning.
While the Gothenburg demos will probably not reach the same massive size as Genoa's G8 protests in July, they show that the anti-capitalist movement is gaining in strength and self-confidence.
In The Socialist 15 June 2001: